Rules of Spelling

 

 

TIM

Because there is no overarching organization which controls what words are officially accepted into the English language and how they should be spelled, there is quite a bit of variety between native English-speaking countries. I have already used two words that are spelled differently depending on which country you find them in. Do you know which ones they are?

When you write, you should attempt to be as consistent as possible. Pick which variant of English you prefer to write in and consistently try to use the spellings that country uses by utilizing spell checkers in Microsoft Word or your smartphone.

There are some simple rules of thumb you can use to try to keep your spelling consistently British or American:

 

1. It’s –or in American English (like in Spanish) and –our in British English:

favor / favour

 

color / colour

 

neighbor / neighbour

 

2. American English tends to be more regular than British English. Take a look at these different past participles:

spelled / spelt

 

gotten / got (“Got” in AmE follows the same pattern as forget, forgot, forgotten)

 

burned / burnt

 

3. It’s –se or –sation in British English and –ze or –zation in American English

 

realize / realise

 

civilized / civilised

 

utilize / utilise (utilizing / utilizing)

 

organization / organisation

 

4. In words that end in –er in American English, they are spelled –re in British English

 

center / centre

 

theater / theatre

 

meter / metre

 

 Tim Brust

Head of Studies

inlingua Ciudad Real